About

Myths about the DR stream “restoration” project:

  • That rapid erosion is occurring in Donaldson Run that requires dramatic measures
    • Erosion in this portion of the creek bed has been progressing slowly over many years and is at bedrock in some locations
    • Lack of maintenance and hardening of more surfaces by the County is creating many of the problems
  • The “restoration” technique proposed by County staff will be effective in Donaldson Run Tributary B to meet the goals of decreasing sediment and nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay
    • Scientific research now shows that the techniques proposed have limited success, especially in upland streams with steep valleys like Donaldson Run
    • No scientific evidence of real success in previous Tributary A “restoration” has been shown
    • The current design justification is based on information that does not reflect changes over the last 10 years nor have any significant efforts been made to slow storm water at its sources in the watershed
    • Repairs and continuing problems with Tributary A maintenance add to recurring costs
      • Stream overflows and sediment deposition needing maintenance; continued erosion of stream banks in some areas
      • Yearly herbicide spraying to solve “invasive species” problems
      • Creates mosquito habits
      • Tree removal increases invasives, and air and water temperature
    • That the loss of 81 mature trees is not significant (not including trees and vegetation less than 6” diameter)
      • Programs assessing the economic and environmental costs of this magnitude of tree loss show that this is a major adverse impact
      • The inventory used is inaccurate leaving off trees 2” to 6” that will also be lost
      • Collateral damage from root trimming and stress to remaining trees irreplaceable in our lifetimes
      • Tree canopy loss decreases air pollution control benefits, increases energy costs for decades to come
      • Increased runoff and loss of habitat would result
      • Mature trees are irreplaceable -replanting 2” samplings are an insignificant substitute for tree loss
    • That stream “restoration” is good for the overall environment
      • No comprehensive environmental assessment was performed
      • Storm water issues were given too high a priority relative to other environmental values
      • Trees play a major role in climate change control
    • That this is the only way to address the storm water problem and help the Chesapeake Bay
      • Long ignored repairs could be implemented
      • Less destructive improvements to protect the stream bed could be used
      • Alternatives to reduce the storm water flows into Donaldson Run should be implemented
      • This $1 million can be spread out over many projects in the Donaldson Run watershed
    • Stream restoration is always good
      • This technique has been shown to be good in some habitats, but not sites like Donaldson Run
    • This project is funded, so we cannot go back
      • Responsible County officials and citizens can and should call for a pause to reconsider.
      • 64% of Arlington County citizens polled said preserving natural areas and trees are their highest priority
      • Loss of natural areas and tree canopy in Arlington is accelerating at a disturbing pace
        • The very small amounts still held in public lands are resources that must be preserved now should be carefully managed for all the citizens and the environment
        • Private developer removal of trees furthers the problem and makes public action important

 

One Response to About

  1. Susan English says:

    My knowledge of this subject is somewhat limited, but I agree that mature tree canopy is a critical resource, not easily (often never) replaced. Trees have enormous value in creating shade (which discourages many invasives), holding and filtering water and retaining soil. I’ve taken a 20 minute look at your resource links. I think you should spell out clearly, with minimal jargon, and with a few key examples, what OTHER, BETTER, DIFFERENT, things the county could do to manage stormwater runoff at its sources. SHOW that the end goal of reducing stream bed scouring and sediment/pollutant flows could be accomplished with other techniques. Do you have rough cost estimates for alternatives? As long as there is economic incentive for private developers to build large footprint houses, in a Dillon-rule state, you won’t easily solve that issue.

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